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Michael Vick’s redemption tour continues with new gig as high school commencement speaker for troubled teens

May 20, 2011, 11:40 AM EDT

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In the land of second chances, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has provided the blueprint for atonement. The latest chapter of Vick’s redemption tale has him speaking in front of some of Philadelphia’s most troubled teens as their commencement speaker, winning the gig over Philadelphia’s favorite mayor/wannabe rapper Michael Nutter and the superintendent of Philadelphia’s public schools Arlene Ackerman. Sorry Arlene, you just ran into a buzzsaw.

Though Michael Vick’s dog fighting past has caused his old high school in Newport News to ban his jersey from the rafters, these particular school officials believe that Vick’s message will be a strong one for the audience to which he’ll be speaking. From

Students who attend the alternative Camelot schools proposed inviting the Eagles starting quarterback, who spent 18 months in federal prison on racketeering charges related to a Virginia dogfighting operation. Edged out were Mayor Nutter and Arlene Ackerman, superintendent of the city’s public schools. Camelot staff considered the possibility of controversy around the decision, said Todd Bock, president and chief executive officer of Camelot.

Bock said Vick has overcome much adversity over the last several years and has persevered — and that’s a very appropriate message for Camelot graduates. “But at the end of the day, we think that Michael Vick will have the most impact on our students,” he said.

About 450 students are expected to graduate at the ceremony next month at the Kimmel Center. The Philadelphia School District contracts with Camelot, a private company, to oversee two disciplinary schools, three accelerated academies for students on the verge of dropping out, and a special school for students in need of therapeutic services. Graduates of all those programs will attend the ceremony.

It’s a beautiful thing to see Vick take his time to give back to the community by doing all he can to help troubled teens who may take the opportunity to hear Vick share his tale as the foundation for a new life as an upstanding citizen. All it takes to turn a life around is one positive role model, and Vick’s speech may what some of those kids need to realize how great life can be if we’re helping out our fellow man. If I were an athlete or a celebrity I’d be taking my time to make sure to give back to everyone and everything I see, because one tiny interaction with a famous person can make or break a person’s week. Be negative and you’ll ruin someone’s day. Vick finally understands that.

Plus, it’s good to see someone step up and take some of the commencement speaker load off of Bill Cosby, who’s getting dangerously close to the ‘do you think we should hire him a translator?’ level of communication. Give that man a break!

Vick’s next role: Commencement speaker []